By Binta Jaiteh
Hon Lamin J Sanneh, committee chairperson and National Assembly member for Brikama South has presented the report of parliament’s standing committee on public enterprises on the State Owned Enterprises Bill 2022 to the Plenary.
The Bill entitled “State Owned Enterprises Bill 2022” was introduced to the Sixth Legislature of the Second Republic, during the Fourth Ordinary Session of the 2022 Legislative Year.
As enshrined in the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, on the second reading of the Bill dated 19th December 2022, Honourable Members debated on the merits and principles of the Bill. After the debate, the Bill was read a second time and it was referred to the Assembly Business Committee for Committal to the relevant Committee/Committees as dictated by Standing Order 68.
He said during the presentation by the chairperson, the Assembly Business Committee referred the Bill to PEC for scrutiny and report back on its findings to the Assembly. He noted that the Committee convened its initial meeting on 16th January 2022 to strategize and identify the way forward to fulfill its mandate as prescribed by Standing Order 69 which provides the procedural guidelines for scrutinizing a Bill referred to a Committee.
As a matter of best practice, he said the Committee considered it prudent to call the mover of the Bill and team as the first witnesses to provide evidence and clarify issues raised on the Bill.
According to him, the Committee together with the Ministry also identified sector experts who also reviewed and gave their views and opinions on the Bill. The Committee also took note of Acts governing SOEs in other jurisdictions for comparative analysis.
Finally, he said the Committee invited all the commercial-oriented SOEs before it to give evidence and provide position papers on the subject matter noting that this report indicates the mandate of the Committee and provides a summary of the evidence gathered from the witnesses and indicates all the proposals for amendments clause by clause for approval or otherwise, at the Consideration Stage of the Assembly.
Following Standing Order 69 the mandate of the committee is as follows; identify witnesses, hold proceedings and gather evidence on the clauses of the Bill and record the opinion of the Committee on each clause of the Bill focusing on any proposed amendment.
Furthermore presents amendments in the order in which they stand in the Bill and present a report comprising a summary of the evidence gathered from the witnesses, the opinion of the committee on the clauses of the Bill, and the amendments proposed as incorporated, he explained.
However, he added that the committee relied on the testimonies of witnesses to review the details of the Bill, clause by clause, taking due notice of any input aimed at adding value to the content of the Bill. Cross references were made to ensure that the content of the Bill was brought in conformity with the 1997 Constitution of the Republic, The Public Enterprises Act 1993 and The Public Finance Act 2014.